Michail Antonio blasts ’embarrassing’ Harry Maguire criticism and says Man Utd star has been reduced to ‘half a man’

MICHAIL ANTONIO has launched a staunch defence of Harry Maguire after criticism he faced in the wake of England’s 3-1 win over Scotland.

The Manchester United defender has struggled for game time at Old Trafford since the arrival of manager Erik ten Hag, leading to calls for England boss Gareth Southgate to drop him from the squad.

Harry Maguire has been the subject of intense criticismRex

Twitter @BBCSportMichail Antonio has blasted the ’embarrassing’ criticism against Maguire on his podcast[/caption]

In the Three Lions’ latest match against Scotland, Maguire came off the bench before he accidentally turned the ball into his own net when attempting to intercept a cross.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was among the pundits to call for Maguire to be axed by the time Euro 2024 rolls around.

However, West Ham star Antonio, whom Maguire nearly joined up with before a £30million transfer to the Irons collapsed, blasted criticism of the 30-year-old.

Speaking on his BBC Footballer’s Football podcast, the 33-year-old said: “It’s [the criticism] gone way, way, way too far. It’s actually embarrassing.

“I’ve never seen this ever in football ever, that one person can be absolutely destroyed.

“Anytime he does anything wrong, it could not be his fault but he could just be involved in it. [And] It’s his fault.”

He explained: “I remember one game last season; the ball has been kicked into his face and gone into the net and people have gone ‘Oh it’s Harry Maguire‘.

“And we’re like there’s nothing you can actually do. There’s nothing you can actually do in that situation.

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“People do forget that people are human and it’s going to affect them mentally.

“He went from being an unbelievable centre-half – I think one of the best in the Premier League – when he was at Hull and Leicester.

“One of the best 100 per cent. To half of a man. He’s half of a man now. That’s how I would describe it. He is half of a man now.

“He’s trying to stay strong, to rebuild himself. He believes in his ability. Right now it’s just not working for him.”

England boss Southgate leapt to the defence of Maguire after the Scotland clash, something Jamaica international Antonio placed praise on him for.

He added: “When I saw Gareth Southgate speak up, I was like ‘well done’.

“It should have been brought up before. It’s been a whole two years.”

With an injury to Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez doubtful for Saturday’s Old Trafford clash with Brighton, Maguire could be handed a rare start for the Red Devils.

Maguire nearly joined Antonio at West Ham over the summerRex

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